The Guppy is probably considered the beginner fish for aquarium beginners. Hardly any other fish is so popular with beginners due to its easy keeping. It requires little attention and is also very tolerant of water conditions. Nevertheless, as with any other animal, certain knowledge should be required to enable species-appropriate husbandry.
In this article, we would like to answer all your questions about the Guppy. This includes general information, feeding, tank requirements but also breeding and diseases. Besides, you will finally receive an answer to the question of whether Guppies are the right fish for you.
All colors possible
Up to 2 Years
up to 2.5 inches
Minimum Tank Size
77 °F - 86 °F
7.5 – 8
Possible Tank Mates
Other peaceful community fish
Million fish or also scientifically Poecilia reticulata, the Guppy is also called. The small colorful fish is very popular in aquaristics due to its low requirements, especially for beginners. Hardly any other fish can be found in so many tanks. With him, even without great knowledge, a colorful tank can be operated, in which even the breeding succeeds all by itself.
The fish originates from South America. In the wild, they can be found in almost all waters, so the water requirements are very low. In modern times there are numerous breeds, which differ in shape and color. Due to their peaceful nature, they are also compatible with many other fish and can be kept together in one tank.
Appearance of Guppies
The appearance of Guppies depends on their breeding. Depending on the species, an infinite number of colors and drawings are possible. Male Guppies are usually smaller than females. Males only grow up to 1.4 inches long, whereas females can grow up to 2.4 inches. In the wild, Guppies are usually smaller. Males can be identified by color and shape in addition to size. They are usually more conspicuously marked and have larger fins.
The lifespan of Guppies is highly dependent on their husbandry and quality of life. While the animals in the wild only become 2 years, they can become up to 5 years in an aquarium. A correct attitude with good food is essential for it.
However, this also depends on the breeding form and the sex. Breeds with large fins need more power and therefore age faster. The same is true for females, which need a lot of strength when giving birth to young. After 2 litters, they are usually not able to survive another litter.
The Guppy is a very peaceful fish, which also gets along with many other fish species. Guppies are group fish, which should never be kept alone. The behavior between males and females is fascinating. The males are actually constantly busy chasing after the ladies and hitting on them. Because of the great reproductive joy of the Guppies, they are also called million fish.
Also, Guppies love to hide. Therefore, a tank should always be well planted for the fish. On the one hand, they use the plants as a retreat and as a food source. They also improve the water quality.
How many Guppies should you get?
When keeping Guppies, you should always be careful not to have too few animals. They are schooling fish, which should always be kept in a group of at least 10 fish. The ratio between males and females should be 1:2. Since Guppies reproduce quickly, care should always be taken to have a sufficiently large tank. If you want to prevent this, you must either choose an all-male or all-female shoal or add natural predators to the tank.
To provide the Guppies with a species-appropriate habitat, it is important to consider a few aspects. First, the size of the tank should be considered. The minimum size for a pure Guppy tank is 10 gallons. However, considering the fast reproduction, a much larger tank should be chosen. As a principle, a value of 2 gallons per Guppy is valid.
Another important point is the planting. The small fish feel most comfortable in a completely planted tank. Between the plants, the fish can retreat very well and rest. If you want to breed young fish, the plants are even more important. The fish need the plants as a hiding place from other fish. They also nibble the growth and algae on the plants. Nevertheless, a free area is also very important so that the animals can swim freely.
With the filter systems, attention should be paid to a low flow. If this is too strong, the small fish need too much power and are exposed to high stress. Common UV light can be used for illumination. This reduces the formation of algae and increases the well-being of the animals. The lighting duration should be around 12 hours.
Water Parameters for Guppies
Guppies are originally very robust in water conditions. In the wild, the fish can be found in almost all waters. Even in heavily polluted streams, the animals can survive. Some species have lost some of their robustness and behave more sensitive to fluctuations in water values through years of breeding. To offer the animals a good environment with suitable water conditions, some parameters should always be observed. The temperature should always be between 77 °F and 86 °F.
For the water hardness, you will probably get different values from each breeder, and basically, the animals are probably not very demanding as far as this is concerned. However, we always recommend keeping the pH value between 7.5 and 8.0. With this, we could have the best experiences. In which range the other values should be, we have shown you clearly in the following table.
77 °F - 86 °F
< 25 ppm
7.5 - 8.0
10 - 25 dGH (178 - 445 ppm)
5 - 20 dKH (89 - 356 ppm)
Varieties of Guppies
As with most fish, there are countless breeds of Guppies. These differ in specific characteristics, and all have slightly different requirements. Basically, they belong to the family Poeciliidae. In the breedings, the animals differ mainly in the size and shape of the tail fin and the general color. A further subdivision is made on the basis of the fins into large fins and small fins. For example, the large fins belong to the double-sword, flag-tail, fan-tail, ladder-tail, or the top-sword. The small fins include the needle-tail, spade-tail, or round-tail.
Guppy Diet and Feeding
The nutrition of fish is important for health, just as it is for us humans. An unbalanced, poor diet can significantly reduce the lifespan of the fish. However, since the animals can not independently choose their food, it is your responsibility to give the Guppies high-quality and correct food. The feeding time and frequency are also crucial. How you choose this best, you will learn in the following section.
In nature, Guppies are omnivores. Due to their size, their diet includes young fish, insects, but also snails. However, in addition to animal sources, they also feed on plant sources. Here especially, young algae and also plants are among their common food sources.
What should I feed Guppies?
A wide variety of food sources can be used for Guppies. As a basis, you can use high-quality dry or flake food. This contains important nutrients for the animals. Furthermore, it is recommended to use live food from time to time. The Guppies especially like small mosquito larvae or brine shrimp.
How often should I feed Guppies?
Guppies eat quickly and do not share their food, so it is recommended to feed them several times a day. Accordingly, the portions should be smaller than usual. If there are also young Guppies in the tank, they should be fed up to 5 times a day. With the amount of food, you should make sure that no food is left over. Otherwise, this will harm the water quality.
How long can Guppies go without food?
Like most fish, Guppies can go a few days without food. So if you forget to feed them, this is not a problem. The animals are then able to reduce their metabolism and consume little energy greatly. Nevertheless, you should pay attention to regular feeding, because otherwise the fish are exposed to strong stress. If you forget to feed them from time to time, we recommend an automatic feeder. This will automatically feed a pre-set amount of food into the tank at a preprogrammed time. So you never have to remember to feed the animals, and they always get the same amount at the same time. To give you an overview of the devices, we have created a detailed comparison for automatic feeders.
Read more about it here: How long can Fish go without Food?
Guppy Tank Mates
Guppies are very peaceful fish, which get along well with other calm fish. However, no larger fish should be in the tank, as this increases the animals’ stress, and they could be attacked. To prevent injury to Guppies, do not put small crayfish or shrimp in the tank. These will attack the fish and injure them on their fins when the fish are sleeping. Especially the large tail fins are often eaten by the crabs.
Fish that should not be together with Guppies in the same tank are:
Breeding Guppies is very simple and requires only the animals themselves. There is no need for another tank or special preparation. The Guppies can throw new fish every 4 weeks under optimal water conditions. Thereby up to 100 small Guppies can be born. However, it is important to have a sufficiently large tank because the new fish also need a lot of space.
Common Guppy Diseases
Guppies are very robust fish, which rarely suffer from diseases. Nevertheless, it can now lead to disease outbreaks in the tank due to incorrect husbandry or other fish. Due to their large fins, they are susceptible to infections or also Fin Rot. These diseases can be treated with special medications from the specialty store. To prevent a disease outbreak, the water quality should be observed above all.
A regular change of the water is costly but inevitable. Likewise, new fish should always be placed in a quarantine tank before introducing the proper tank. This way, diseases can be detected early, and a spread to other fish can be prevented. Finally, it is important to keep the stress of the animals as low as possible. This can be achieved with the right tank partners but also with suitable food and aquarium conditions.
Possible diseases from which Guppies and numerous other fish can suffer, we have shown you in the following table with possible causes and treatment options.
Injuries to the fins of the Fish.
Transmitted by parasites, which can enter the aquarium through new fish.
A diseased fish should be separated immediately and the tank cleaned so that the disease does not spread further.
White spots on the body and the fish rubs against hard objects.
Is transmitted by bacteria, which often come into the tank through new fish.
A fish should therefore be immediately separated and the tank cleaned. Also an Ich drug should be applied.
Symptoms include a white irritation of the skin and cloudy eyes.
The bacteria are in almost every tank, but only attack weak and stressed fish.
When the disease breaks out, the water should be changed frequently and the stress of the fish should be reduced. Also an bacterial drug should be applied.
Swim Bladder Disease
The fish swims sideways and upside down.
The disease can be genetically predisposed.
The fish can not be cured. Sometimes it disappears again on its own.
Conclusion – Is a Guppy the right fish for your tank?
Guppies belong to the very easy beginner fishes, which is why they can be recommended to every beginner without any worries. They are very tolerant of minor errors in water values or feeding. Nevertheless, some rules should be followed so that the animals live a long and stress-free life. Also, you should keep in mind that Guppies reproduce very fast. Not without reason, the fish also bear the name million fish. If you want to avoid this, you have to separate males and females strictly. If you keep both together, you should have 2 to 3 females per male. If you consider these few aspects, Guppies for beginners can either form a great single tank or complement a community tank well.